Secret of the Lost Settlement: The Duty of Warriors
By: John J. Horn
Rating: 4 stars
Ages: 13/14 and up (for violence, mention of disturbing Roman practices, and overall mature themes)
As most of you probably know by now, John J. Horn is my favorite author. He's an incredible writer, and I'm a huge fan. Brothers at Arms? Easily my favorite fictional book. Each of his novels weave together adventure, heart-pounding action, humor, and a whole lot of great story-telling, along with Christian morals and faith messages.
But Secret of the Lost Settlement was so completely different than his last two books. The message was bold and John didn't shy away from delving into it. The message is what this book is all about. The duty of warriors? This is it.
I think that's sort of what I loved about it.
I cried, I laughed, and I hurt. Both times I've read it I've been entwined into the character's lives and the story. Horn has an amazing writing style - he knows how to craft a well-told tale. All of his books are adrenaline-pumping adventures set in exotic locations.
You know what, I'll take a detour and talk about locations for a sec. (Random? Maybe a little.)
All three books in this series have really amazing settings - the jungles of Peru, the frozen steppes of Siberia, and the icy mountain ranges of Greenland. (Now, whenever I hear someone talking about Peru or Siberia, I perk up...haha!) I love the settings!
Back to Secret.
The characters? Almost all of them are back - with a few new additions, of course. Colonel Nobody, ever his super-serious self, is even more so in this book - but for a reason. All of the trials that Noble goes through in this novel he deals with incredibly well. He stands strong, and in the midst of it all he still is gallant and brave.
Now, Law: he is so different in this book! He's matured. There's a part near the end where he steps up to save Pacarina, and he fights Roman soldiers by himself. He fights soldiers. If you guys have read Brothers at Arms, then you'll know why this is so cool.
Chester is ever his impetuous, fun-loving self. And he gets an upgrade on The Eyesore, much to Lawrence's chagrin. (Love it!) Chester is such a great character.
Jacques and O'Malley? Well, I can safely say they haven't changed much, even in the midst of being outlawed. Jacques doesn't take to Chester very well (but then he finds out who the Stonings are in relation to his beloved Colonel Nobody, and things quickly turn in the opposite direction).
John handles his themes well, never going into so much detail you would want to put the book down. There are much more mature elements in this book because of the Romans and their horrid practices, but again, they're handled pretty well.
I must admit I was a little disappointed that the series suddenly became much more serious overall in this novel. I suppose I was expecting something different. There's the always-present humor that I love about John's novels, but it feels heavier, was a bit darker. It's not my favorite of the series, but it was still good, still John's improbable type of plot and story.
(The improbability is one of my favorite things about his novels.)
Why I Recommend This:
The message; the characters; the story. The message...of doing the right thing, making the right choice, even when the outcome isn't what you'd hoped it would be. The characters...who stand strong when the odds seem impossible. They don't give up. They fight for the right and for the innocent and for the just cause. The story...which will most likely touch you deeply and leave you in tears.
It's a historical, adventurous, God-honoring, sometimes nerve-racking ride that you won't soon forget.
Buy the book here, on Amazon Kindle.